Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday at the age of 96. After 70 years on the throne, she was the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
The news came hours after Buckingham Palace announced that the queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Her funeral is traditionally to be held 10 days after her death at Westminster Abbey, with private burial at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, alongside her husband Prince Phillip, who died in April 2021, her sister Princess Margaret, and father King George VI.
On Friday, Britain’s Accession Council is expected to formally name her son Charles, Prince of Wales, to be the new King Charles III. Before her passing, the queen had directed that his wife, Camilla, be called Queen Consort when he becomes king.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had ordered the American flag over the Capitol lowered to half-staff in honor of the late monarch.
North Carolina’s senators expressed their condolences to the royal family and noted the queen’s special impact on the relationship between the United States and Great Britain.
“My thoughts are with our friends in the United Kingdom, and all those across the world, who are mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II,” said Sen. Richard Burr in a statement Thursday. “Throughout the decades, she was a stalwart leader for her country and a steady global presence. She met with 13 of the last 14 U.S. presidents, helping to foster the special relationship between our countries. She will be remembered for a long life dedicated to duty, honor, and service – principles she lived by example.”
North Carolina’s dedication to Britain’s queen, the Queen Elizabeth II ship, floats in Roanoke Island Festival Park, drawing thousands of visitors each year to the Manteo waterfront in the Outer Banks. The ship was built in Manteo and was modeled after sailing vessels that sailed to Roanoke Island in 1584 and 1587 under the reign of Elizabeth I.
UNC Tar Heel football also has a unique connection to Queen Elizabeth. During a trip to the United States, she and Prince Phillip watched the Tar Heels play football against the University of Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Oct. 19, 1957. N.C. Gov. Luther Hodges represented the state at the game and presented the queen with a small trophy of Sir Walter Raleigh. Prince Phillip was given a football that day for the couple’s son, Charlie, or Prince Charles.
Today, a 1971 oil painting of Queen Elizabeth II hangs in the N.C. Museum of Art, given to the state by the Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation.